This suggests that changes could happen in the body long before the disease is fully developed. Pablo suggests that these changes might begin to happen 10 years before the patient is diagnosed. Pablo’s research for the last few years has focused on finding biomarkers (proteins in human blood) that could be identified in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and then used to predict who will go on to develop the disease in the next few years.In his work, Pablo identified a particular gene called VSNL1 (a gene for a calcium sensor protein, found in neurons). Pablo looked for this gene in a dataset of patients from Arizona and found the expression of this gene to be lower in 5 out of 6 brain regions in Alzheimer’s disease patients. In fact, the abundance of this VSLI gene in spinal fluid is now thought to be a predictor of the rate of decline of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Pablo identified this gene as important and now researchers around the world have verified its importance in the clinical setting.
In Australia, Alzheimer’s disease is huge health burden, with one person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every 6 minutes. Symptoms of dementia are often noticed by family members three years before an official diagnosis.